Black Family Month was first recognized in July of 2006 to encourage the enrichment of families through education, health, and self-improvement. This observance also encourages families to support their loved ones, reflect with one another, and invest in and inspire the next generation.
This National Black Family Month, we are celebrating Nitoriya Goff, an early childhood educator, and a 2022 Groundwork Ohio Early Childhood Leadership Fellow. As a mother, aunt, business owner, and lifelong advocate, Nitoriya’s story is one rooted in resiliency. In a world that too often tells Black families that they are not enough, Nitoriya’s journey is one of courage, resilience, and hope. And one that serves as an inspiration for other families throughout Ohio.
By Nitoriya Goff, Founder, Color of Love Childcare Place
The definition of family is my motivation for how I live. Since childhood, my family has had a close bond. My mother hosted parties, barbeques, and holiday celebrations at our house. We always had a van as our means of transportation. My mother would pick up other family members and her friends to do their shopping at the same time she did ours because they did not have cars. I remember our home being open to family and friends to live with us when they were going through hard times. These values of family taking care of family and others grew with me.
As an adult and parent now, I see that the definition is beyond one’s shared DNA. I understand that some of the emotions that drive the value of family are love, compassion, empathy, and anxiousness. I say this because I never knew why my mother did the selfless things she did until I became an aunt and a parent. Developing love for another life is rewarding and challenging, yet the love of family conquers it all. For these reasons and others, I am steadily becoming my ancestor’s wildest dream: strongly purpose-driven.
Becoming a parent and an aunt released the educator, nurse, counselor, caregiver, motivator, advocate, and so many more characteristics in me! Knowing that I have such an influence over their lives, I wanted to be the best person I could be to inspire them to be the best individuals they can be. This caused me to step away from some things taught traditionally and things that I picked up through watching family and friends growing up. I knew that becoming a successful person would help my family flourish.
Becoming a person of influence by nature brought out my strong faith in God, resilience, and patience I never knew I had and showed me how to love in a capacity that I am still figuring out. Having my own family revealed my strengths and weaknesses. Becoming a parent helped bring about personal and professional changes that constantly teach me to improve myself. I opened our home to start my family childcare business in 2015 to provide high-quality child care and educational experiences for my children, family, friends, and the community's children.
I believe that self-awareness is vital for health. To promote self-confidence, self-identity, health, and wellness, we practice yoga, meditation, take nature walks, and take on boxing. In 2022, I decided to go to college to further my education in Early Childhood Education. Although it has been challenging, my children, nieces, nephews, and children I care for see that limitations are only limitations if one gives up or does not try at all.
We get out and enjoy nature, taking part in learning about natural history and nature-based learning. We decided to create new family traditions by creating memories through curiosity, adventure, and excitement through traveling and doing a ton of first things! For example, we took our first road trip to Tennessee to pick up family members, took our first plane ride to Florida for our first vacation, and founded our first business together.
We participate in community volunteering and advocacy through Groundwork Ohio, The CEO Project, and Action for Children. It is important to me that my children and family see that family can be others and ours! Learning, growing, and thriving communities start with thriving families that have the essential resources they need - financial support, food, beverages, working utilities, healthcare, child care, education, support systems, and so forth. Families need strong foundations to succeed- whatever that looks like for individual families.
Honoring Black Families all over the world, it is our hope that from our family to others, we can inspire them to be their own definition of a healthy, happy, thriving family!